Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) on Thursday answered the call of those who have requested that Congress read the entire healthcare reform bill prior to voting.
The tech-savvy congressman placed the full text of H.R. 3200, the House Democratic reform proposal, online using a web application called SharedBook. Users can read the bill and comment on specific portions of it.
Culberson's effort comes alongside his proposed discharge petition that would change House rules to require that bills be posted online 72 hours before the body votes on them.
Democratic Reps. Brian Baird (Wash.) and Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) signed onto the petition, an unusual move for members of the majority party. Democratic leaders frown upon members of their caucus signing Republican petitions, which rarely attract the required 218 votes for passage.
"It is my hope that by making this bill available for public comment, we will set a precedent for future legislation and restore the public trust in government by raising the level of openness, order and discourse," Culberson wrote on his website Thursday.
A similar measure proposed in the Senate Finance Committee failed 11-2 yesterday.
Culberson tweeted the news yesterday afternoon:
On Thurs I will crowdsource the Obama/Pelosi healthcare bill on www.culberson.house.gov using Sharedbook. AllCD7 residents can participate
Anybody can log on to the Library of Congress' Thomas website and read the bill right now. But Culberson offers an opportunity for his constituents to debate the bill using the social media site.
Right now, only residents of Culberson's Houston-area district can post comments.
"Congressman Culberson is always looking for the latest tools to use to help foster communication and debate with his constituents," his press secretary Megan Mitchell told The Hill on Wednesday.